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Gaiman on comic book movies

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Isn't it something to do with their monstrosity showing God's displeasure with some part of his creation?

Doubt it. That sounds like contrived Victorian wishful-thinking to me.

Contrived medieval Catholicism, in fact. The sort of thing that upsets Garth Ennis...

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An interesting article on product placement in comic book movies from Wall STreet Journal.

"Superheroes like Superman and Spider-Man can save mankind from natural disasters, space aliens and evil mutants. But there's one thing they are powerless to stop: Advertisers shilling products within the pages of the comic books they call home.

 

In July, Time Warner Inc.'s DC Comics, home to characters such as Batman and Aquaman, is launching "Rush City," a six-part miniseries that boasts visible promotional support from General Motors Corp.'s Pontiac. As part of the series, a new hero known as "The Rush" will be prominently featured driving a Pontiac Solstice in the comic book. "The car will be as essential to the character as the Aston Martin was to James Bond," says David McKillips, vice president of advertising and custom publishing for DC Comics.

 

 

DC Comics' hero 'The Rush,' who will be featured driving a Pontiac Solstice.

Over the past few months, Marvel Entertainment Inc. has begun putting the "swoosh" logo from Nike Inc. in the scenes of some of its titles, such as "New X-Men." So far, the emblem has appeared on a car door and on a character's T-shirt. "We are always looking for new and interesting ways of connecting with our consumers," says Nate Tobecksen, a Nike spokesman. "This is certainly one of them."

 

Last week, DaimlerChrysler AG's Dodge finalized an ad pact that will include product placements in Marvel comics. Marvel, home of Spider-Man, Captain America and Sub-Mariner, may feature Dodge's new car, the Caliber, in the books' cityscapes, including on billboards, T-shirts or signs over the next four to eight months, Joe Maimone, Marvel's advertising director, says.

 

Both Pontiac and Dodge are getting the product placements deals as part of larger ad buys. The two car companies are purchasing print ads as well -- the first time either auto maker has taken out an ad in a comic book.

 

Product placement has become commonplace in movies and TV shows. Now it's coming to comic books -- in part because the industry's two giants, DC and Marvel, are promoting some of their titles as places to reach one of Madison Avenue's most elusive audiences: guys in their 20s. Notoriously hard to reach, young adult males are known to be wary of traditional sales pitches, especially ones that get in the way of their entertainment. "It's the kind of audience that is harder and harder and harder to get to," says Dino Bernacchi, advertising manager for Pontiac.

 

A casual reader might miss some of the new comic-book product placements, which are meant to be part of the artwork. "When Spider-Man flies through Times Square, you don't necessarily have to draw" the signs that are there in real life, says Marvel's Mr. Maimone. "We can pretty much put anything we want, as long as it's organic and not forced." DC's Mr. McKillips says Pontiac will not have direct editorial oversight of the comic and its main character. "We're not seeking their approval on everything, and they trust us," he says. A Pontiac spokesman says the company is not involved in the creative process.

 

Comic books have long carried some print ads, and they typically had a youthful bent, with ads for toy soldiers, x-ray glasses and mail-order Sea Monkeys. More recent ads hawked acne medications, videogames and chewing gum.

 

Lately, readers of comic books have gotten older. On Madison Avenue, "there is a large misunderstanding of who is reading these titles and what they are paying attention to," says Pontiac's Mr. Bernacchi. The genre suffered a slump beginning in the early 1990s that lasted until the first Spider-Man movie was released in 2002, says Gordon Hodge, who follows the business for Thomas Weisel Partners. In that time, fans who kept buying the books have grown older, now reaching into their 20s and 30s. A recent wave of hit films featuring comic-book heroes has gotten consumers, including older ones, interested in comic books again. Mr. Hodge estimates the comic-book market is worth about $400 million to $450 million, with Marvel controlling about 37% and DC capturing around 33%.

 

DC and Marvel are both burnishing "networks" of titles that appeal to male readers between the ages of 18 and 34. Marvel's Mr. Maimone says the comics titles are competing with "laddie" magazines such as Emap PLC's FHM or Dennis Publishing's Maxim and Stuff.

 

 

Nike product placements in the Marvel comic book 'New X-Men.'

Comic books for the older set contain grittier storylines about superheroes with distinct character flaws. Batman these days exhibits paranoid tendencies, even going so far as to construct a satellite to keep tabs on his caped associates. Green Arrow, an archer in an emerald costume who once shot trick arrows with boxing gloves instead of sharp tips, recently used a real arrow to stab a villain in the eye. (To be fair, the criminal was already blind in that socket.)

 

DC's Mr. McKillips says he hopes to bring in other advertisers seeking an older male. "You're going to see this year a lot more health and beauty care, shaving cream, razors, alongside the automotive," he says.

 

Weaving products into comics is not entirely new. DC says in the 1960s it produced comic-book series based on toys such as Captain Action or Hot Wheels, in response to advertiser relationships. The new auto-maker ads will be less overt.

 

Nonetheless, the product placements, which still aren't widely known, have some fans seeing red. Such ads "taint the experience," says Chuck Rozanski, founder of Mile High Comics, a Denver comics retailer. "The comic environment is designed to take you away from reality for a moment," he says. "Here we are thrusting offensive marketing products from our world into this fantasy world."

 

The big concern among comics aficionados seems to be whether the drawings of the products will obscure the dialogue and pictures. Laverne Mann, a Ewing, N.J., librarian who has read comics for years, hopes the books won't look "like the comic is being bought by the product," with a logo or drawing of a soda can obscuring the art. Something that takes attention away from the story would be "like a pop-up ad," says Rebecca Sutherland Borah, an associate professor of English at the University of Cincinnati who has studied comics. "I want to see all the art and words I can get."

 

Others see the placement as the lesser of two evils, still better than having big display ads inside the comic books. "Anything they can do to put it in front of the person in the mainline of reading is going to be a good thing," says Tommy King, who sells comics at Tales Resold in Raleigh, N.C."

 

Write to Brian Steinberg at brian.steinberg@wsj.com1

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Was the Aston Martin essential to James Bond? Given that he's driven five or six other cars since then, I'd be inclined to doubt this assertion myself.

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I wonder if London Fog has thought about being the official sponsor of John Constanines coat?

Well besides Silk Cut, Guiness and his scuffed Oxfords.

 

There's a slew of curry houses just waiting to get their mitts on our John.

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One wonders how much better Bullit might have been if Ford had funded the film: the car chase may have been less entertaining for a start...

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Others see the placement as the lesser of two evils, still better than having big display ads inside the comic books. "Anything they can do to put it in front of the person in the mainline of reading is going to be a good thing," says Tommy King, who sells comics at Tales Resold in Raleigh, N.C."

 

Yeah, right. As if a few Nike swishes are going to replace, rather than compliment, existing page ads. Why would Marvel and DC go to all of this effort to make the same amount of money that they did before?

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Was the Aston Martin essential to James Bond? Given that he's driven five or six other cars since then, I'd be inclined to doubt this assertion myself.

 

 

The cars are a pretty big part of the Bond mythos.

 

In the books the car was a Bentley and it was very personal -- it was his car, bought with his own money (and part of an inheritance if I remember correctly), and it was tuned to his specifications. It was also a slightly older car, a bit of a throwback to earlier, grander times. It and what it represented was a way for the reader to see Bond and understand his character.

 

In the movies Bond has driven a lot more cars than five or six. Some were good (or even great) cars others were best forgotten. What you have to keep in mind is that the movie Bond keeps coming back to Astons. There have been at least three returns to the Aston marque after it first appeared in some of the Connery movies (TLD, GE, TND). The Lotus is probably the second most recognizable Bond car.

 

Cars really do play an important role in Bond's world, so the choice of the right car is essential, and Astons are often the perfect choice.

 

In most comics, cars are an afterthought, unless they are specialized vehicles like the Batmobile. Even so, this whole idea of placing commercial advertisements in editorial pages -- whether it be in comics or other forms of print (or even broadcasts for that matter) -- is a type of slimy creeping that shouldn't be allowed to happen. It is a slackening of integrity.

 

Yes I realize that for years car companies placed their products in shows, but there really is no excuse for doing it in comics. I mean it's not like comic companies have to keep buying new cars to replace ones that were wrecked while shooting, so they don't need auto manufacturers to foot the bill.

 

I also doubt seeing a new Solstice (assuming the artist can even draw one properly, and it's not like we haven't seen poorly drawn cars in comics before) in a comic book will encourage anybody to go out and buy one. Car guys (and gals) already know about the car. Hell, they knew about it before it was officially launched. People who aren't really into cars aren't likely to go out and plunk down hard earned cash for a Solstice. It's not really a typical daily driver, especially if you are living in a geographical area that actually experiences real (and changing) weather. It's also not the most practical thing on four wheels. I really don't comprehend how or why somebody who has never thought "I must go out and get a small convertible" is going to say "well Superduperdude has a Solstice, ergo I must go out and acquire one."

 

Besides, its Saturn cousin is a much more attractive car. ;)

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DC should think about reaching out to cults to see if they would like to have their churches or literature appear in the pages of Hellblazer. They could have their religious leader appear as a agent helping John with a case or have their god trying to destroy john. Their literature could show up in john's storage locker. Their really is an endless possibility of avenues for revenue.

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Was the Aston Martin essential to James Bond? Given that he's driven five or six other cars since then, I'd be inclined to doubt this assertion myself.

 

 

The cars are a pretty big part of the Bond mythos.

 

In the books the car was a Bentley and it was very personal -- it was his car, bought with his own money (and part of an inheritance if I remember correctly), and it was tuned to his specifications. It was also a slightly older car, a bit of a throwback to earlier, grander times. It and what it represented was a way for the reader to see Bond and understand his character.

 

In the movies Bond has driven a lot more cars than five or six. Some were good (or even great) cars others were best forgotten. What you have to keep in mind is that the movie Bond keeps coming back to Astons. There have been at least three returns to the Aston marque after it first appeared in some of the Connery movies (TLD, GE, TND). The Lotus is probably the second most recognizable Bond car.

 

Cars really do play an important role in Bond's world, so the choice of the right car is essential, and Astons are often the perfect choice.

I know he drove a Bentley in the books (he was written as a fairly old fashioned sort, so his favouring an older car made sense there), I was thinking more of the films, though. He has gone through a lot more than half a dozen motors now I think about it, you're right.

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I've bought 2 Gaiman books so I revisited this thread.

Been a while.

 

But Volumes 1-11 is the entire Gaiman Sandman series, yes?

I seem to remember James stressing that to me

and to read it in correct order...

 

So that's right, isnt it?

I also got Midnite Days (? i'm really bad with titles)

and Dream ... something - the one about the monk and the fox

 

so what did i miss - on the Gaiman Sandman series?

 

I rather like his take on Dream -

and the Endless (and oh - the 2 books of Death)

 

Dont you think he was saying something when he had

Destruction leave...

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What treat ahead of me did you mean?

 

I got them before the year ended last year

so you can be sure i've read all of them

 

if that is - you were referring to Gaiman's Sandman

I havent gotten any of the Sandman Presents stuff

... come to think I havent seen any of them here either

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I havent gotten any of the Sandman Presents stuff

... come to think I havent seen any of them here either

Don't worry: apart from Lucifer you're not missing much. Some of that stuff is so appalling I'd like to Karen Berger forcefed every existing copy of it for commissioning this kind of shit in the first place...

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What treat ahead of me did you mean?

 

I got them before the year ended last year

so you can be sure i've read all of them

 

if that is - you were referring to Gaiman's Sandman

I havent gotten any of the Sandman Presents stuff

... come to think I havent seen any of them here either

Sorry, I must I have misunderstood you. I thought you were going to start to read them now. But now I remember that you said you read Sandman. You can just ignore what I said.

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first image from the Stardust movie showed up online a couple of days ago:

 

Stardust2.jpg

Oooooh.

 

I didn't even know there was a Stardust movie in the makes. Thanks!

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What treat ahead of me did you mean?

 

I got them before the year ended last year

so you can be sure i've read all of them

 

if that is - you were referring to Gaiman's Sandman

I havent gotten any of the Sandman Presents stuff

... come to think I havent seen any of them here either

 

None of the Sandman Presents series were ever collected into Trades except the Lucifer one, Gen.

There's a Sandman Presents graphic novel written by Mike Carey that's worth reading. Sandman Presents:The Furies

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That's the things about comics, Gen. They're an addiction.

You think, "I'm just going to read one or two series"

Then it turns into, "I don't want to buy more than 20 comics a month."

Then it turns into, "OK. I think I've collected all the comics I want to buy, but I wish there were more comics like this one. hmm....Well, let me try this one just to see. Oh! I like this series too! I'll buy all of these!"

Before you know it, your entire bedroom is covered in boxes and boxes, stacks and stacks of comics, and you're always wanting more, more, more comics!

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There's a Sandman Presents graphic novel written by Mike Carey that's worth reading. Sandman Presents:The Furies

Ah, I'd forgotten that one: okay, I wouldn't forcefeed that to Berger, it's a very good comic.

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There's a Sandman Presents graphic novel written by Mike Carey that's worth reading. Sandman Presents:The Furies

Ah, I'd forgotten that one: okay, I wouldn't forcefeed that to Berger, it's a very good comic.

 

"Dream Street" wasn't bad, and I really liked Darko Macan's "Corinthian:Death in Venice" one. "Dead Boy Detectives" surprised me, I didn't think I'd like it, but it was Brubaker writing it.

Those aren't collected in Trades though.

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